Topic of the Week 11/4/2018 - Advanced

All I want is oysters, cheese and poached lobster after reading all about Montmains last week from . Well done!

This week: Since Jeremy was the sole champion last week, let's see who can hang with him in describing the  major geology of The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA


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  • Milton-Freewater AVA? Glad that doesn't actually exist, because it would be absolutely meaningless, as the area surrounding MF has a dozen soil types, altitude variations ranging from 500 to 2000 feet, and more microclimates than my feeble mind can imagine. We have enough of those in the PNW already. 

    These guys have already described it pretty well geologically, but what are the wines like? There is something about this area that produces some funky wines! They are clearly ripe, fruit driven new world wines, but with this earthiness that makes one think of George Clinton.

    The acid is generally pretty low compared to other Washington wines, with finished pH around 4 (or higher). One would think these wines don't age well with such a crazy pH(and alas, I haven't found a 10 year old Cabernet that isn't at least a little tired), but if you've ever had a current release of Cayuse syrah and wondered what the hype was all about, then tried a 13 year old version of the same wine and had your mind blown, you'll know that these wines can be built to last. I think the lower relative acidity really contributes to the texture. The tannin is already pretty velvet like, but when you experience these wines, they seem to be a wave of soft texture over every corner of your mouth. While the funkiness may show up at some other vineyards in Walla Walla (Reynvaan's In The Hills and some blocks at Eritage come to mind), I've not seen anything resembling the texture of the best Rocks syrahs. 

    One thing to note: there aren't many bottlings of The Rocks District of Milton Freewater AVA. Being an Oregon AVA, this has to be vinified in OR, so all of the Walla Walla wineries on the Washington side can only use Walla Walla Valley AVA on the label. The best winery that is actually in The Rocks doesn't seem to care about the AVA (and why would they? It's just additional branding, and a winery with a decade long wait list probably isn't going to bother with additional branding).